Don’t watch the clock, do what it does and keep going: Ashby 20

Race Date Sunday 27 March 2023

An hour before the gun, the thought was that this could be an adventure as the rain lashed down but half an hour later it had stopped and Helly Hansen was swapped for thermal t-shirt as it was still a chilly ‘feels like’ 2°C. The best gloves remained on the hands though.

Some love them and find them a real help but personally I detest pacemakers. They clog up the road and pace judgement is surely part of the skill of racing; there are mile markers after all. On this occasion however their absence was bemoaned as my watch was still in the kitchen attached to its charger. (Blame it on the clocks going forward, ed.) Like many, this race was being used in preparation for a marathon and, with plenty of hard training still to be done, twenty miles at full tilt would be destructive. The conundrum was what pace to run it at? Eventually a plan was hatched to go at Pfitzinger’s 10% marathon pace although this might now be challenging without a watch.

Chatting briefly with Hannah Holliday on the downhill first mile, her strategy was to do the first ten at 8:30’s and then run the second half at 8:00 pace. At ten miles another competitor advised that we were bang on eighty five minutes and shortly after Hannah trotted past implementing the second part of her plan to finish in 2:42. This was quicker than intended and good work considering the stiff breeze plus the last mile back up that hill.

It is clear that host club Ivanhoe Runners put a massive amount of effort into this event. With hordes of marshals on a partially closed two lap route we were bumped up onto the pavement for short sections but that is the price you pay for organising a road race these days. There were feed stations every three miles with water and High 5 together with a litter zone to deposit gel wrappers. The course is undulating, not dissimilar to the Stamford 30k, and although there were a few puddles to negotiate the roads were generally dry by the end of the race where we were greeted with water, a cheese roll, crunch bars and a banana together with a thick, mustard coloured hoodie! It’s wonderful how good a simple cheese roll can taste when hungry. Some feedback for the organisers is that the long Parkrunesque queue for goodies was threatening to reach all the way back to the finish line so could do with sorting out next year. Evidently there were also issues at the bag pick up after the race too.

Philip Swirles being pursued by Tessa Bainbridge over the last 200m.

Full results (Ashby 20 2023 results) show that the race was won by Daniel Bagley (Mansfield) 1:47:36 and Abby Halcarz (Ivanhoe) 2:07:52. Becky Gallop (Newark) was using the first fifteen miles as training run then running harder for the last five but, as ever, once the number goes on things change and she ended up finishing in second place; alas the perils of using a twenty mile race as a warm up for your marathon. The last person finished 1285th in 5:05:35 – there’s a cut-off at 2:20 (about 4mph) at the half way point.

Pos Name Cat Time (c)
317 Hannah Holliday F40 2.42.18
409 Peter Brown M60 2.48.43
592 Philip Swirles M40 2.59.49
595 Tessa Bainbridge F40 2.59.54
1160 Rachael Toon FS 3.56.29


Hannah modelling the hoodie. Colman’s, French or Dijon Mustard?

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